Dodgers GM Colletti: I'll Pay Through the Nose for a Shortstop

The LA Times:

The Dodgers are in an awkward spot, waiting for the kids to succeed, antsy for the kids to succeed. They wouldn't trade Matt Kemp for Sabathia, the right call, and Kemp alone would not have gotten the deal done...

Ned Colletti, the Dodgers' general manager, would not discuss specific players but said he could not have completed a deal without disrupting the major league roster.

"We'd be filling one hole and creating two others," Colletti said. "That's not something we're interested in doing."

And, had the Indians said yes to the Dodgers' offer of minor leaguers for Sabathia, the Dodgers would have lost the prospects they'll probably need for what Colletti calls the top priority, a trade for a shortstop. 

They've targeted Jack Wilson of the Pittsburgh Pirates, with less interest in David Eckstein of the Toronto Blue Jays -- they would have minimal range up the middle with Eckstein at shortstop and Jeff Kent at second base -- and no apparent interest in Omar Vizquel of the San Francisco Giants.

If the Dodgers wouldn't trade Kemp for Sabathia, it doesn't seem likely they'd trade him for Wilson, unless they've decided that shortstop is that important. Which, actually, is possible. It sounds like the Pirates will have a very good position from which to negotiate. In this article, Colletti appears to acknowledge that he's not going to pull off a very good trade:

Already, the Dodgers have asked the Pittsburgh Pirates about Jack Wilson. But landing Wilson or any other shortstop at this stage probably would cost the Dodgers multiple players.

"It's not an easy position to fill, especially mid-season, but we're going to see," Colletti said.

Normally I'd say that what the Pirates should do is to wait a few days and let Colletti see what Nomar Garciaparra's shortstop defense is actually like. The guy will be 35 in two weeks, he can't stay healthy and he was moved off the position years ago. But Colletti already appears to recognize that he's got problems, and that a good shortstop won't come cheaply. Maybe it's still possible to get Kemp.

UPDATE: I just found this:

"We're more open-minded to who we may have to move," Colletti said...

Colletti's comments echoed what owner Frank McCourt told me earlier in the week when asked about the possibility of trading some of the kids. He said the ones they will hold onto are "the ones who are prepared to put in the work, listen to coaches and get better every day." The kids who they would be willing to part with are "the ones that can't do those things."

Like the commenters here, I'm pretty sure "the ones that can't do those things" means "Matt Kemp." Bad GM plus meddlesome owner could be a winning combination for the Pirates. I also agree with the same commenters that if I were the Pirates I'd be very aggressive about this, perhaps offering Wilson and Nady for Kemp and a prospect. (The Dodgers might be reluctant to part with Kemp not so much because they like him, but because they need him. Give the Dodgers an outfielder, and they might be more willing to make the deal.)

UPDATE 2: The Pirates say Wilson will probably stay. I'm not sure whether that means anything, but the Bucs at least sound less desperate than the Dodgers do.

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